How Long Does Rawhide Take to Digest in Dogs?

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There is a lot of controversy surrounding rawhide treats in terms of digestibility and how safe the snack is. But is it really true that these dog treats are impossible to digest? If not, how long does rawhide take to digest in dogs?

So, how long does rawhide take to digest in dogs? Assuming the dog takes the time to thoroughly chew it into small pieces, the average time for dogs to digest rawhide is 8 hours. Rawhide digestion time is quicker for small breeds and takes longer for big dogs.

That being said…

Most dogs don’t properly chew rawhide. Most dogs rip and swallow large chunks, which don’t break down well in a dog’s stomach. Large chunks of rawhide tend to swell up inside the stomach, becoming a threat to intestinal blockage and other severe digestive issues. So what should you do in the case of these digestive issues? Are there alternatives to finding the same soothing/health effects of rawhide treats?

How Worried Should You be?

how long does rawhide take to digest?

It depends.

If your dog has a strong digestive system, treats like rawhides should not cause any fatal complications in your dog’s body.

If your dog isn’t able to digest food very well, rawhide treats can be harmful. If this is the case, you should probably be worried.

Here are some of the many different health issues including indigestion that can come with an undigested rawhide treat:

Potential Rawhide Digestive Issues

1. Food Poisoning

Though this isn’t the common food poisoning that we commonly associate with spoiled food, Rawhide treats can cause food poisoning due to the dangerous chemicals that are involved in the production process. 

In fact, some Rawhide treat products that include these toxic chemicals do not adhere to the restrictions set on consumables as these treats are not considered to be “food.” Because of these different standards, slow poisoning may occur, which means that having too much of these Rawhide treats might cause food poisoning for your dog. 

The toxic chemicals that are involved in the production process is mainly used for bleaching and enhancing the colors of these treats. As aforementioned, these chemicals are not necessarily edible. Although small doses shouldn’t matter all that much, we strongly recommend that you do not keep Rawhide treats as your primary reward for your dog. Even if your dog loves it, for the sake of its health, please limit the amount Rawhide treats you feed. 

If your dog ends up with food poisoning, immediately stop providing Rawhide treats and turn to more natural sources for your dog’s meals. Organic ingredients such as fruits are great for your dog’s health, so while your dog is getting treated for its illness, change your diet up so your dog never has to suffer again.

2. Gut Obstruction

Rawhides treats, if your dog is not able to digest them properly, end up swelling inside your dog’s system. If this occurs in your dog’s intestines, intestinal blockage can occur. In this case, your dog might start showing signs of constipation, diarrhea, and distress.

Gut obstruction usually gets better over time, but initially, the pain is unbearable for the dog, especially because the Rawhide treats swell up in its system. Therefore, we recommend that you make sure your dog has a relatively strong digestive system before going ahead and providing it its favorite Rawhide treat. If it is capable of digesting Rawhide treats, gut obstruction shouldn’t be a concern for you or your dog.

However, if you have had previous experiences with your dog facing indigestion and other digestive issues in the past, you must be extra careful when you are checking with a veterinarian for any potential issues digesting Rawhide treats. In this case, gut obstruction can be fatal for your companion, so please do be careful!

Other Health Issues

1. Choking

Rawhide treats, no matter how strong your dog’s digestive system is or how healthy your dog is in general, are always a choking hazard. Though this applies to all dog foods, it holds especially true for Rawhide treats because of how easily a large piece can break off of the whole treat and end up lodged in your dog’s throat. 

In this case, you must start by checking if your dog is actually choking by looking at the physical signs. First, check for any abnormal behaviors or sounds that your dog is making. Usually, when a dog is choking, they make gagging sounds and have a hard time breathing. Moreover, they paw their mouths as if they’re trying to get something out of their throat. If you see these behaviors your dog is most likely choking.

Next, begin performing the Heimlich Maneuver. First, place your fist under your dog’s stomach and wrap your hand around it to create additional pressure. Next, pull your dog’s stomach into you and up as if you are trying to make it throw something up. If you succeed, stop immediately and take it to the veterinarian. If not, continue until the ambulance shows up. 

2. Dental Health/Oral Infection

Rawhide treats might also be very harmful to your dog’s dental and oral health, especially if your dog is still developing or is old. Usually, between these age groups, its teeth are still in its developing stage or very weak, meaning it’s not healthy for it to grind against hard, brittle objects like Rawhide treats. 

It’s possible that your dog might suffer from toothaches and loose teeth if it chews on the ivory treats for prolonged amounts of time. We recommend that you pay visits to the veterinarian to check up on your dog’s dental health if your dog has been using hard Rawhide treats for a long time. 

The other danger that lies with relying on Rawhide treats for a long time is the risk of oral infections, especially along the gum lines. As the surface of these treats isn’t the smoothest, it’s likely that your dog might suffer from cuts and scratches in its gums. Though it is fine if you have been thoroughly sanitizing your dog’s mouth, we still recommend that you don’t use Rawhides too often if you know that its gums are pretty weak. 

Rawhide Benefits

Rawhide treats still do have some benefits, with the most major one being how it relieves anxiety.

Chewing is an instinct for dogs; therefore, Rawhide treats are like pacifiers as they encourage their innate act of chewing on something. Moreover, Rawhides tend to be higher in calcium concentration, so in terms of chemical composition, it’s great for strengthening your dog’s bones. 

Related Questions

What should I do if my dog swallowed a rawhide?

Take it away and don’t feed rawhides for a while. For your dog, this type of treat is a very large choking hazard.

Is rawhide really bad for dogs?

It depends. Some dogs are not really fazed by the negative effect of rawhide treats, but others experience fatal accidents. However, we recommend that you don’t feed rawhide to your dog if you’re unsure.

Can rawhide kill dogs?

Yes, it is possible. Some blockages can be fatal and oral infections may lead to other grave health problems. Therefore, we recommend that you are cautious when you do feed Rawhide treats to your dog. 

How often can I give my dog a rawhide?

One every seven to ten days is the optimal schedule to keep your dog occupied while making sure that your dog’s teeth/gum lines aren’t agitated.

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